Sketchbook from one sheet of paper

17 March 2019

You can make a sketchbook from a single sheet of paper, with no gluing or sewing.

You need:
  • a sheet of paper for the pages (any type that you want to draw or paint on, for example cartridge or watercolour paper)
  • a sheet of paper for the cover (choose a colour)
  • knife
  • pencil
  • (optional) thick card to stiffen the cover.
The dimensions of the sketchbook will be one quarter of the paper that you start with.

For example:
  • A1 paper is about 60 x 84 cm, so the sketchbook will be 15 by 21 cm.
  • A4 paper is about 30 x 21 cm, so the sketchbook will be 7.5 x 5 cm.
  • Letter size paper is about 11 × 8.0 inches, so the sketchbook will be 2.75 x 2 inches.

Put the paper the same way as you want the sketchbook: landscape or portrait.

Divide the height by four, and mark.

Fold the paper into a “W”. Make the folds perpendicular to the drawn lines.

Following the drawn lines, make three cuts going three quarters across; one from the left, one from the right, and the last from the left.

Cut the red lines; don't cut the dotted lines:

You end up with a zigzag cut.

Start folding at the bottom left, following the creases.

When you get to the end of the row, fold the pad under the next row (mountain fold), and then keep following the creases.

You have a book!

Add a cover: For small books, use a sheet about 3cm (1 inch) bigger than the open book.

For stiffer covers, cut two pieces of card the same size as the sketchbook pages, and stack them one on top of the page block, and one on the bottom.

Fold the top and bottom edge inwards.

Fold the book in half, and then fold in the end flaps.

Tuck the end pages of the page block into the flaps.

That's it!

If you've used thick paper, you might need to leave the sketchbook under a pile of books overnight to flatten it.

When you've finished the sketchbook, you can take out the sheet of paper, reverse all the folds, and then assemble it again, so that you can now draw on the back of the pages.